The change of Prime Minister from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull has failed to deliver any noticeable improvement in environmental policy, Environment Victoria said responding to last night’s Budget.
“Malcolm Turnbull has shown a lot of interest in the environment throughout his parliamentary career, so it is disappointing this isn’t reflected in the Budget,” said Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle.
On energy and climate change:
“The lack of further funding commitments for the Emissions Reduction Fund – the sole piece of climate policy the Coalition currently has – shows that the Turnbull Government currently has no plan for cutting Australia’s pollution.
“Treasurer Morrison said that Australians want ‘a plan for getting us through this economic transition’, but he has ignored the critical need for a government plan to support and accelerate the transition from dirty coal power stations to clean renewable energy that is already underway.
“Funding cuts to renewable energy show that the Turnbull Government has chosen to destroy the jobs and growth that come with renewable energy investment and instead prop up old, polluting interests.
“In the absence of funding for the Emissions Reduction Fund, the Coalition must now deliver pre-election announcements of strong regulatory measures to deal with global warming, such as a schedule to phase out our oldest and dirtiest coal-burning power stations.”
“The Budget contains no forward funding for the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan or the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, leaving them high and dry precisely when we need cost-effective measures to restore the health of our rivers.
“The $2 billion committed to a new loan facility for the development of new dams is a damaging idea we would have expected to see a century ago, not in 2016 from a Prime Minister who talks up innovation. Stressed by climate change, population growth and over-extraction for irrigation, our rivers need more water returned to them, not more concrete infrastructure.”
The Budget entrenches handouts to polluters with the Fuel Tax Credit Scheme set to grow by $834 million over the forward estimates, reaching $7.1 billion in 2019/20.
“By 2020, Australian taxpayers will be forking out over $7 billion each year providing incentives to increase pollution. The Fuel Tax Credit Scheme already subsidises 8 percent of Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution.
“The largest chunk of this money goes to providing cheap diesel to massive multinational mining companies. The profits of these companies should not be propped up by the average Australian.”
On the forthcoming election:
“Unfortunately we’ve now had three years of relentless attacks on our natural environment, combined with a systematic dismantling of measures to cut carbon pollution. The Abbott/Turnbull government has accrued an appalling record on the environment so far, and this Budget will fail to convince Australians that the change in Prime Minister has made much difference.
“In a little over eight weeks time, the public will likely have the opportunity for their own budget response. Australians have the opportunity to push the reset button on our nation’s policies to reduce global warming and restore our environment. With their final Budget of this government, the Coalition have missed a vital opportunity to demonstrate that they can deliver a credible environmental agenda,” said Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle.
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager, 0402512121